On the best of days parenthood can be like walking a mine field in a pair of snow shoes. Odds are eventually something is going to blow up in your face. It starts right at inception. On becoming pregnant a woman ends up in an obstetricians office along with other women such as herself in various stages of the birth process. In the examining room your feet are placed in two stirrups and you get the first sense of what a humbling experience becoming a mother is going to be. Over the nine months each expectant mother’s experience varies. The less fortunate spend the first three months perched over the commode praying for release, living solely on soda crackers and 7-Up. Others, seemingly born to wear the suit of motherhood, breeze through one pregnancy after another virtually untouched by swollen ankles, rapid mood swings or midnight cravings for liver and apricot sandwiches. Each pregnancy is as unique as the children they produce.
Humans fare far differently in the parenting department than most of their animal counterparts. Lion cubs, for example, though dependent on their mothers at birth, are usually weaned and on their own some time in their second year. Humans, are likely to share space with their offspring well into early adulthood and with the economy such as it is now, perhaps even longer.
As your children grow, quite often the size of the problems associated with raising them increase accordingly. Certainly the expense of maintaining a pre-teen or teenager is generally much higher than when they were toddlers or in elementary school. Outside activities come into play (if you will) and suddenly bills are coming in for sports equipment, summer camps, clothing and electronic devices. Thirteen year olds without smart phones and tablets, so I’m told, are nearly social pariahs.
There are few jobs more important, yet nothing is given to you by way of instructions or direction when you sign up for it. It’s like putting you in a nuclear reactor and telling you to push a few buttons until you get the hang of it. At the hospital after surviving the delivery (another thing they don’t fill you in on in much detail) you are basically handed a baby and sent on your way. Unless you’ve had a caesarean section, you will most likely be released with your new child before the ink dries on your signature on the admission papers.
The first baby is the worst really. After that you at least have trial and error to guide you through the darkness. When your first born cries on endlessly after you’ve done everything humanly possible to provide comfort, you may or may not end up at the emergency room. Panic taking over on handing the baby over to the nurse, you find yourself secretly wishing she would keep him until he was old enough to drive. After a brief examination by the ER doctor you will probably be assured it is not as feared flesh eating bacteria, but rather a bout gas. $500 and a good dose of humiliation later, you will return home only to find ten minutes after you lay your tired head on your pillow the baby, gas and all, is now hungry. I highly recommend you do not keep any loaded weapons handy during this portion of your training.
Surviving the first year of your baby’s life, you will begin to breathe a little more easily. Sleep for most, at least more than two hours, has returned to your daily routine and life takes on a rhythm just short of steady chaos. It is set up this way, I believe, to give you a bit of a reprieve before your toddler turns two. Otherwise every street corner would contain a two-year old child with a sign around its neck reading, “take me”. Before your child can walk you spend a good deal of time encouraging him to do so. When he finally does you are ecstatic. When the baby is fully mobile you wonder why you were so excited about this prospect. Everything eye level becomes fair game. I knew people who had entire rooms decorated only at three feet and above until their children entered pre-school.
School seems like a time to at least for a brief period assume your life once again. Perhaps even go back to work. Women who choose to work often feel guilty because they are not at home. Personally I don’t think every woman can be completely fulfilled as a full-time mother. Aside from that in many households a second income isn’t a choice but rather a necessity. When I look back at my working parent days I amaze myself that I lived through it. Racing home from a busy job, gathering my kids, shopping if necessary, getting dinner, doing homework, throwing in a load of wash and throwing myself into bed just before the alarm went off. They say there aren’t enough female super heroes. I say they’re just not looking in the right places. All mother’s who dedicate themselves to keeping a home and raising children, whether working or not, deserve a big red “S” emblazoned on their chests. This could stand for super hero or survivor however you choose to look at it. In either case I wouldn’t change a minute of it.
So, I wish all of you who have signed on the dotted line and made a human or two a Happy Mother’s Day. You deserve it.
This soup is dinner in a bowl. Sooooo yummy.
Chicken Taco Soup
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cooked
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes with juice
1 14 1/2 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes with juice
1 6 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. taco seasoning mix
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1/3 cup chunky salsa
Grated Mexican blend cheese
Cover chicken with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 20 mins. or until thoroughly cooked. Shred with two forks.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers and onions. Cook for 8 mins. until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 min. Place onion mixture, cooked chicken and all remaining ingredients through and including salsa in stockpot. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and continue cooking partly covered for 50 mins. stirring frequently.
Serve with sprinkled cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, and ripe olives.